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Causes of a Dry Throat

author image David B. Ryan
David B. Ryan has been a professional writer since 1989. His work includes various books, articles for "The Plain Dealer" in Cleveland and essays for Oxford University Press. Ryan holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Indiana University and certifications in emergency management and health disaster response.
Causes of a Dry Throat
Dry throat can be caused by a number of situations or conditions. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

A dry throat may be a temporary condition created by weather or wind, but chronically dry throat may indicate the presence of disease. Dry throat may be accompanied by body aches, cough, nasal drainage, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or fever. These conditions assist in diagnosing the cause of the dry throat and should be mentioned to your health care provider, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Tonsil Problems

The tonsils, in the rear of the throat, assist the immune system in blocking germs entering the breathing passages. Swelling of the tonsils, created by infections, tumors, cancer, abscesses or chronic tonsillitis, may create an obstruction blocking saliva to the throat. The dry throat associated with the condition disappear when the related disease is treated. A tonsillectomy, removal of the tumor, cancer or absess, and medication to remove the bacteria are prescribed to remove the cause of the dry throat.

Room Temperature

Forced-air furnaces, which are on almost constantly during cold winter weather, remove moisture from the air and promote drying out of the eyes, mouth and throat. Using a humidifier when sleeping will help in avoiding a dry throat, according to the Mayo Clinic. Drinking water before bedtime may also help in keeping the throat moist.

Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjogren's Syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes the exocrine glands in the body to damage (or destroy) the production of moisture in the salivary glands, creating a dry throat and mouth. The disease may appear alone or with rheumatic related diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Currently there is no known cure for the condition. Treatment includes keeping the mouth and throat moist by drinking fluids, chewing gum and using medications to increase saliva production, according to the Sjorgren's Syndrome Foundation.

Salivary Gland Cancer

The salivary glands are in the throat, neck and mouth and provide fluid to keep the tissue moist. Cancer in the tiny salivary neck glands creates a dry throat condition. The cause of this rare cancer is not known, but it is generally associated with high-fat diets, tobacco use and prior family history. Swelling in the neck, numbness, pain (in the later stages), swallowing difficulties and sometimes a lump are later signs for this type of cancer. The treatment is determined by the exact location of the cancer, but usually involves surgery and perhaps radiation sessions.

Improper Breathing

The US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health report that breathing through the mouth is a common cause of a dry throat. This breathing technique may also create throat irritation, that may mimic other diseases. Winter months are typically times for most cases of dry throat since the winter air has less moisture, drying the throat even more. Drinking fluid both before bed and in the morning is recommended by the NIH to reduce the throat pain.

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